Reporting from Jinqiao
29.06.2012 - 10.07.2012 32 °C
On the last Friday in June the kids and I got up to a bright blue sky revelling in the knowledge that it was the very first day of the long summer holiday, eight weeks of summer stretching out lazily ahead of us... the term had seemed to go on and on, and finally reaching that last week of term was relief to everyone, parents, kids and teachers.
It's also a bit of a sad time of year here as it is unfortunately a time that we often say good bye to some of our friends as they move on to new pastures green, and so that first weekend, coupled with being the start of the holidays for everyone was full of farewells. The biggest one being a great night out at Lost Heaven with about 30 people, unfortunately about 8 of them moving on, but we were lucky with the weather, and started with cocktails on the roof, before having an enormous feast together downstairs.
On Sunday we went to Yi Cafe at the Shangri-La for buffet brunch, which is a bit of a Shanghai institution, but one in four years we have never participated in. There were twelve of us, and the kids were free! I went not expecting Jie Jie to eat anything, but to my surprise and delight she asked for a pasta dish to be cooked to order, and then surprised and delighted me further by eating the whole thing! Didi sampled lots of things off our plates, but the funniest bit was when he got a bread stick which was about a metre long, and proceeded to take bites from it, without picking it up off the table! There was also a dessert bar, and Jie Jie got confident about dipping marshmallows into a chocolate fountain. When we got home, Mike and I had eaten enough that we just needed to lie down like a snake digesting a mouse! It was delicious, and good fun, and with good friends, but I couldn't go every week!!
We lazed around for the week, going swimming with friends and on our own, out for lunch and playdates with friends, to another farewell party at an indoor play centre and then one week into the holidays, we went out to the China Maritime Museum - fortunately with friends who have a car, as they picked us up and drove us there - well past the airport! The building was impressive, with massive sails, reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House:
And inside the museum, we were at first taken aback by the chill in the air, as the air conditioning was working so well it felt cold - admittedly part of that would have been coming inside from 34 degrees! The museum was great, lots of control rooms and hands on displays for the kids to play with and pretend that they were driving and working hard in submarines or on ships. My favourite was the old ship in the central void, with the mast going high up into the sail of the building.
There were a number of wonderful displays, including model ships and aircraft carriers, the history of boats from bamboo rafts ('Just like Yangshuo', said Jie Jie) right through to enormous tankers, also tidal projections on a globe, engine rooms, simulated activities to practise welding or crane driving and of course a children's playroom complete with boats, cranes and fish. It was a great day out!
We've now had a couple more playdates and swims, and then tomorrow we are off on our summer vacation and adventure... we are going to Vietnam! We fly to Hanoi tomorrow afternoon where we are staying for 3 days, then heading down for 2 weeks on the beach in Hoi An, followed by 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City and finishing off with a trip to Disneyland in Hong Kong! How lucky are we??